Cheat Sheet

Stop Smoking For Dummies (UK Edition)

The point at which you decide to stop smoking signals the start of a big old battle with yourself and your addiction. Giving up smoking isn't easy; this Cheat Sheet of handy info and top tips is here to help.

Withdrawal Symptoms You May Feel When You Stop Smoking

The nicotine withdrawal symptoms you experience as you try stop smoking can include some particularly unpleasant things, such as the following discomforts and annoying conditions:

  • Fatigue

  • Anxiety

  • Restlessness

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Depression

  • Irritability

  • Excessive eating

To lessen the severity of these symptoms and the discomfort they cause, try these techniques:

  • Exercise

  • Use a nicotine replacement therapy

  • Find help from support groups

What Happens to Your Body after You Stop Smoking?

So how does your body react when you stop smoking? Well, some beneficial effects occur almost immediately, and several other good things happen over time.

  • After 20 minutes, your blood pressure and pulse rate return to normal.

  • After 24 hours, the carbon monoxide is removed from your body.

  • After 48 hours, the nicotine is expelled from your body.

  • Between 2 and 21 weeks, your circulation improves.

  • After one year, your risk of a heart attack falls to half that of a smoker.

  • After ten years, your risk of lung cancer falls.

Assessing Your Relapse Risk after You Stop Smoking

After you stop smoking, you need to make sure you avoid relapse. The first step to practising early relapse prevention is to find out how close you are to relapsing. Identifying your risk for relapse and avoiding high-risk situations can help you on your journey to recovery.

Your risk for relapse is on the rise when you

  • Have just recently stopped.

  • Feel so confident that ‘just one more can’t hurt’.

  • Buy a pack ‘just in case’.

  • Don’t discard that last pack.

  • Expose yourself to people, places, and things formerly associated with smoking.

  • Hang out with friends who smoke.

  • Are in high-stress situations that usually lead to a smoke, such as family conflict, deadlines, or social obligations.

  • Are in low-stress situations, such as on holiday, that invariably lead to smoking because you want to maximise your relaxation.

If you can relate to any of these points, you’re at risk of relapsing into the habit.

Developing Cognitive Skills for Success as You Give Up Smoking

Your mind is your greatest ally in your effort to stop smoking. Laying the mental and emotional foundations for success involves frequent reminders to yourself in a positive way.

Once you’ve stopped smoking, invoke these ideas as often as necessary:

  • I may feel shaky or tired or miserable today, but what I’m going through is temporary. The situation will get better every day.

  • Even if I don’t feel great, I’m having a successful day because I’m not smoking.

  • Stopping smoking is a loving, caring thing to do for myself. I deserve it.

  • I don’t have to surrender to the impulse to smoke. I can do something else instead. I will feel much better about myself tomorrow knowing that I didn’t slip.

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